TL;DR – These probably ain’t the toughest challenges she’ll face.
Senior Minister of State for Finance and Law Ms Indranee Rajah, 55, is now a full minister in the Prime Minister’s Office. This promotion was announced just last Tuesday. Part of the fourth-generation leadership team, Minister Indranee will also be Second Minister for Education and Second Minister for Finance.
May Day was her first day as a minister and immediately, she had been beset with a number of problems as shared in a rather cute Facebook post yesterday.
Here are four issues she’d highlighted:
1. Having to deal with tonnes of messages
Since it was announced that she was to be appointed as a full minister, Minister Indranee Rajah had been flooded with many kind congratulatory messages. She had been trying to reply to those messages. However, she hasn’t managed to reply all the messages because, Minister or not, she, like everyone else, has only 24 hours to do everything that needs to be done.
2. Some people don’t know how to address her
She used to be known as SMS Indranee. That’s Senior Minister of State, not short messaging service. Now that she’s a full minister, what should be her new “acronym”? It can’t be Min, because MOF, MOE and Minlaw already have Mins (the existing ministers). She can be called 2M. But Minister Lawrence Wong is already 2M of Finance. But, for simplicity’s sake, she has suggested that they just be addressed as 2M Lawrence and 2M Indranee. As Minister Indranee pointed out:
“Even if we are both MOF 2Ms, chances are good that people won’t mistake us for one another. At least I hope not.”
But that means that Minister Indranee can’t go to ministries headed by Ministers Grace Fu or Josephine Teo because they all sport the Pob (the bobbed hairstyle favoured by female politicians), leading people to confuse them (erm… really?). So Minister Indranee will need to stay away from MCCY and MOM to avoid confusion with her fellow pobbers.
3. No more car karaoke
Now that she’s a full minister, the security protocol requires that personal security officers (PSOs) accompany Minister Indranee everywhere she goes. So that looks like that’s the end of the car karoke-ing days for Minister Indranee. But but but, surely she doesn’t sing so badly, hurhur!
4. Being poked fun of by the permanent secretaries
Every permanent secretary that Minister Indranee has met since the announcement of her appointment as full minister has poked fun at her. They have found the opportunity to offer her the broadest of broad grins and solemnly intoned: “Yes, Minister”, clearly relishing the rare opportunity to pull a ministerial leg and channel their inner Sir Humphrey Appleby.
Feeling the weight of responsibility
Jokes aside, Minister Indranee pointed out that being a Minister in Singapore is knowing that one has been handed a sacred trust, and understanding that she has been both given the privilege and entrusted with the duty to work in partnership with colleagues in government and fellow Singaporeans to bring Singapore forward to the next stage in our story. To make tomorrow better than today. She highlighted:
“I feel that weight keenly, not as a burden, but as a matter of stewardship and responsibility. And I will discharge it to the best of my ability.”
That’s an important message. We look forward to seeing Minister Indranee make a difference in her new capacity as a minister.